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Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary Adds 88 Acres

By Marc Devokaitis
Blue-winged Warbler in Sapsucker Woods. Photo by Jay McGowan/Macaulay Library.
Blue-winged Warbler in Sapsucker Woods. Photo by Jay McGowan/Macaulay Library.

From the Autumn 2021 issue of Living Bird magazine. Subscribe now.

In February 2021, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology added 88 acres to its Sap­sucker Woods Sanctuary in Ithaca, N.Y. The new land acquisition increases the size of Sapsucker Woods by nearly 40% and adds shrubland habitat to the woods and wetlands in the rest of the sanctuary.

“We all owe great thanks to [the Cor­nell Lab’s] longtime friend and board member Louisa Duemling, who made an exceptionally generous and timely gift commitment that allowed this pur­chase to move forward,” says John Fitz­patrick, former director of the Cornell Lab, who oversaw the acquisition.

According to Fitzpatrick, the ongo­ing prospect of development on this land “had long been a threat to the eco­logical sanctity of our preserve.”

“The shrubby, old-field habitat should attract birds like Blue-winged Warbler, Eastern Towhee, and Alder Flycatcher during the nesting season,” says David Bonter, codirector of the Cornell Lab’s Center for Engagement in Science and Nature. Bonter, who also teaches several undergraduate ornithology courses at Cornell University, says new paths now being planned will expand the current Sapsucker Woods trail network, and he plans to take his classes to the new par­cel in the fall 2021 semester.

Cornell Lab Visitor Experience Man­ager Lisa Kopp is also excited about the new shrublands at Sapsucker Woods: “An expanded Sapsucker Woods means the chance for new interpretation on the trails, new self-guided experiences, and just the fun of exploring a new hab­itat with different plants and animals.”

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American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library

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